Saturday, May 07, 2005

Postdocs are highly-trained professionals ...

Highly trained at avoiding the real world, that is, at least according to a report on a series of reports about postdocs that I just read. As I've said before, I just don't get why people would be content to spend 5+ extra years in school beyond their undergrad degree to get a PhD, start a postdoc appointment at about $38K/year [on average], stay a postdoc for 5 years [on average] and then have a 15% chance of getting a tenure-track faculty position. And, despite these dismal stats, over a third of postdocs are apparently "pretty set" on their plan of working in a research university.

Are all these people wearing rose-tinted, high-optimism-inducing, reality-distorting glasses ? It seems like they're victims of some form of brainwashing that induced the unshakeable belief that the only pleasant work environment is in academia, or that you can only do good science in academia, or that only second-rate people end up in industry, or a bunch of other similarly nonensical ideas.

Sure seems like a lot of these postdocs are scientists capable of considering alternative hypotheses, except when it comes to important things, like their own lives ...


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